Best Things to do on Maui: The Maui Ocean Center: The Aquarium of Hawaii

Maui Stingray, photo by Amarette

Maui Stingray, photo by Amarette

Explore Hawaii’s underwater world without ever getting wet! Named one of the Top 25 Best Aquariums in the U.S. by TripAdvisor, The Maui Ocean Center features Hawaii’s sharks, turtles, stingrays, octopus, moray eels, green sea turtles, sharks, stingrays, sea jellies, and thousands of tropical reef fish. All of the animals at Maui Ocean Center are found in Hawaiian waters, with many that can’t be seen anywhere else in the world.

The Maui Ocean Center is home to the world’s largest collection of live Pacific corals. Over 60 indoor-outdoor exhibits allow guests to discover Hawaii’s marine life, including a 750,000-gallon Open Ocean Exhibit that features a 54ft walk-through tunnel.

Friendly marine naturalists are available to answer questions and to share facts and ocean stories with guests. A self-guided tour can be any length; from a couple hours to a full day’s activities. Interactive exhibits and presentations are available at various times and locations throughout the Aquarium. There are even sleep-over tours available. Witness changes in animal behavior from day to night, observe nocturnal behavior, learn about marine animals, help an Ocean Naturalist feed turtles and rays. Ocean-themed activities include hands-on marine life lessons, crafts, and a movie, after which you will dive into a sleeping bag and sleep undersea in the Open Ocean or Sea Jelly exhibit.

Your visit to Maui Ocean Center can be enhanced with optional informative audio guides, behind-the-scenes tour upgrades, and special activities for all ages. The Aquarium is also home to Maui’s only shark diving activity, Shark Dive Maui®, where guests can dive amongst six species of sharks and other fish.

If you stay for lunch, you can enjoy the spectacular views of Ma‘alaea Harbor from Seascape Ma‘alaea Restaurant’s open air patio (10:30am-3:00pm). Locally grown and wild-caught ingredients bring out the best of Maui flavors on the diverse, sustainable seafood-friendly menu. Sandwiches, salads, homemade pizzas, and hot daily specials, with open seating in a casual outdoor atmosphere are available at the Aquarium’s Reef Café (9am-5pm). Coffee, snacks, drinks and shave ice are also available at the Aquarium’s Hale Mea Ono coffee cart (9am-3:30pm)

Leave some time to visit the Maui Ocean Treasures Gift Shop (9am-5pm), a vast collection of locally made pantry food, jewelry, children’s books and toys, Maui souvenirs and more!